More than 40 young humanitarians from all over Australia converged on Sydney on 22nd - 25th November 2012 for the National Youth Engagement Forum. They joined their voices in a lively and engaging conversation about how young people can get involved with the work of Red Cross.
From the outset, the mood was all about being creative and tackling key issues head on, like how they could attract more young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to become volunteers and members of Red Cross.
CEO Robert Tickner set the scene early on with a ringing endorsement of the great work being done by young people in Australia and right around the world in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
Having recently returned from Geneva, where he worked as Under Secretary General at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Robert spoke of the need for young people to "continue to shake it up".
"I felt really inspired when I left the conference, as a Youth Advisory Committee rep it was awesome to talk to other states, and I felt really enthused… The only thing I would have like was for it to have gone longer! My enthusiasm was sparked and I left hungry for more."
Many of the participants said that the forum gave them an opportunity to work with other enthusiastic and creative young people with similar interests in developing ways to support youth involvement at Red Cross.
Drawing on the strengths of their own diverse cultures, backgrounds and interests, the group engaged in lively debate and conversation around many different topics including using social media, creating volunteering opportunities and possible training and development workshops.
The National Youth Engagement Framework and the upcoming Diversity Campaign were both key areas for enthusiastic discussion and brainstorming. Ideas flowed thick and fast during workshops about the best ways to engage and communicate with young people from right around Australia.
Building on the successful Red Cross Young Humanitarians facebook page, discussions sparked from a professional development workshop with leading social media group 'Dialogue Consulting'. Isolating a funky and consistent 'Young Humanitarian voice' was a key priority, as was learning about the best times to post and how to source appropriate and interesting content.
Participants said it was great to focus on building confidence in using social media to showcase the amazing achievements of young people when working and volunteering with Red Cross.
Photos: Australian Red Cross/Antony Balmain